FINAL: Texas 12 – Prairie View A&M 4
Facing an overmatched Prairie View A&M team, Texas methodically scored in every inning except one on their way to an easy 12-4 win at Disch Falk Field on Tuesday night. Every Texas player in the starting lineup had a hit or scored a run.
The Longhorns got off to a fast start on offense courtesy of RBI singles by Zane Gurwitz and Joe Baker in the bottom of the first inning, and an RBI groundout from Tres Barrera. A sacrifice fly by Ben Johnson in the home half of the second inning made the early score 4-0.
The much-maligned Longhorn offense scored 2 more runs in the fourth, sixth, and eighth frames, adding single runs in fifth and seventh for their 12-run total. The Horns racked up 15 hits, three walks, and eight stolen bases, while Panther pitchers added three hit batters.
Brooks Marlow and Collin Shaw both had homeruns to right field, and freshman Joe Baker accounted for a third extra-base hit, a double. Baker finished his night 3-3 at the plate with 2 RBI and a run scored.
Starting pitcher Josh Sawyer was solid through his first three frames before having control problems in the fourth inning. The Panthers scored all four of their runs, two of them unearned, in the top of the fourth. Jon Malmin entered in relief of Sawyer, but contributed to the damage by issuing back-to-back walks before being quickly replaced by Jake McKenzie.
McKenzie pitched two innings of relief and earned the win, improving to 2-0 on the season and whittling his ERA down to 0.61. Four pitchers (Travis Duke, Kyle Johnston, Ty Marlow, and Kirby Bellow) pitched a scoreless inning of relief to finish the game.
Texas faces Texas Tech at Disch Falk Field this weekend. At 10-8 in league play, the Red Raiders are currently fourth in the conference standings.
His overall thoughts on the game: “We handled the plays defensively in a timely fashion and got our outs. We got good, steady pitching from the fifth on. It's important to get [Kirby] Bellow out there. Our freshman shortstop [Joe Baker] did an outstanding job both offensively and defensively. I thought the team functioned well.”
On what was different in the game to produce such a lopsided outcome: “It's always about attitude. We don't have a bad attitude. We don't have dissension. We don't have conflicts between the coaches, which a lot of times in losing seasons you do. What we have is a team that is trying but got caught in in the trap of trying to improve their hitting. As we tried to improve our hitting, we tried to put a total focus on that element of the game which is easy to do because the position player's ego is tied up in batting average. It's the toughest skill of all of the offensive skills to win with. It's an easy trap to get into.”
On whether the team should gain confidence from the game: “It certainly can give them confidence. They enjoyed a lot of success and it took a lot of teamwork. We plugged that teamwork in there on purpose to get them thinking that way. I think they felt more comfortable just having smaller responsibilities and just simpler tasks. We just have to get back to the fundamentals and the basics.”
On being aggressive with stolen bases: “We have to. We can't just sit still because then all you do is think about a hit and a hit never produces a run because you're never in scoring position. You have to do something to get movement. There's only four types of games you can play: Bat control – which is hit and run and that kind of thing - the bunting game to advance runners, the hitting, and base running. Those are the four weapons you have on offense and you have to develop the individual skills under each one of those categories and you have to do that in the framework of three outs. It's really kind of simple, you just have to do it.”
On the team’s mindset: “It's tough going through what we are going through right now. We just have to win as many games as we can. Whatever happens, happens with the tournament. It's out of our hands at this point. We just have to go out there and compete every day and try to win as many games as you can. If we take care of business the rest of the season and at the Big 12 tournament, then we will put ourselves in a good place and hopefully the committee will take that into consideration and put us in.”
On batting in the lead off spot: “I just try to set the tone early. Obviously we want to score a lot of runs and we did that tonight. That's the goal of every game to score as many runs as you can. It's one of those things that no matter what the situation was, we were going to keep putting it on them. We just wanted to keep aggressive and hopefully that transitions into this weekend.”
On the team’s aggressive play: “You saw it tonight, that's really what put a fire under us to get things going. We just need to be aggressive on the base path, take pitches where you can put runners in scoring position, and find a way to get guys in.”
On gaining confidence from the win: “Every win is important. You never was to underestimate a team. We just wanted to go out there and take care of things like we should have all year. We've had a down year, but it was good to get out there and get a win that will hopefully propel us to our next series against Texas Tech. Hopefully we can jump on a roll, get to the Big 12 tournament, win there, and get into regionals.”
On the locker room’s attitude: “We've had a rough year and we just want to get back to the basics and playing Longhorn baseball and fundamental baseball. Just back to the basics, that's all it was.”